I am reading The Glass Canoe, which won the Miles Franklin Award in 1976 and has recently been reissued in the Text Classics series. David Ireland won the award three times altogether: for The Unknown Industrial Prisoner in 1971, and for A Woman of the Future in 1979. If the other two are as good as this one then I am in for a treat, because I have them both on my TBR…
In fragments, ‘Meat Man’ tells us about a side of life in Western Sydney that is in stark contrast to the beauty of the harbour:
My mother died not long after the traffic there got real bad. We used to live in a house right on the main road, one of a row of the old Caroline Chisholm cottages – they’re demolished now and a car sale yard there instead – and when they widened the road and it got busier and busier, she got sick.
At night the house shuddered with the big refrigerated freighters, semi-trailers, low-loaders, cement trucks and all the rest. You couldn’t use the front door. Day and night it was, the sound going through you like knives in a cutter, and her dying. I held her hand once and felt her pulse dragging. Like knots in a bit of cotton, only not spaced evenly.
(The Glass Canoe by David Ireland, Text Classics, 2012, p.11)
The economical laconic Aussie male, breaking your heart with that single word ‘once’.
Author: David Ireland
Title: The Glass Canoe
Publisher: Text Publishing, 2012 (First published 1976)
Source: Kingston Library